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Don’t marry a Christian

Amanda Vickery: Wives or slaves?

8 September 2011
Women in 18th-Century Europe 
by Margaret Hunt.
Longman, 484 pp., £21.99, October 2009, 978 0 582 30865 7
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... It was a hackneyed truth that while European Christian women in the 18th century were essentially free, ‘“Oriental” and Muslim women were incarcerated body and soul behind veils,’ as MargaretHunt puts it. Browbeaten British wives accused oppressive husbands of Turkish despotism, drawing attention to the illegitimacy of domestic tyranny in the land of Liberty as well as to their total ...

Brutish Babies

David Wootton: Witchcraft

11 November 1999
Shaman of Oberstdorf: Chonrad Stoeckhlin and the Phantoms of the Night 
by Wolfgang Behringer, translated by H.C.Erik Midelfort.
Virginia, 203 pp., £14.50, September 1998, 0 8139 1853 7
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Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe 
by Stuart Clark.
Oxford, 845 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 820001 3
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Witchcraft in Tudor and Stuart England 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Routledge, 368 pp., £55, April 1999, 0 415 19611 6
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The Bewitching of Anne Gunter: A Horrible and True Story of Football, Witchcraft, Murder and the King of England 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 256 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 9781861970480
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... boats (Black Cat, Sorceress) apparently inhabited by practising witches. The modern scholarly literature on the history of witch beliefs and witch trials, however, first took shape in opposition to Margaret Murray’s The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921), which claimed that Renaissance witches were worshippers of pagan gods. It has therefore been resolutely agnostic about the existence of actual ...
23 March 1995
Telling the Truth about History 
by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret​ Jacob.
Norton, 322 pp., £19.95, August 1994, 0 393 03615 4
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... historians, like their counterparts throughout the world, have often functioned as nation-builders, constructing an intellectually plausible lineage for the nation state. As Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob demonstrate, a particular version of history has played a major role in defining the American nation. What they call the ‘self-congratulatory national history’ of the 19th ...

Bus Lane Strategy

Tristram Hunt: London Governments

31 October 2002
Governing London 
by Ben Pimlott and Nirmala Rao.
Oxford, 208 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 19 924492 8
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... makes any decisions. In Gaskell’s North and South, it’s only when the spectre of centralisation is raised that the sturdily ineloquent mill-owner Mr Thornton can rise to the rhetorical level of Margaret Hale: I belong to Teutonic blood; it is little mingled in this part of England to what it is in others; we retain much of their language; we retain more of their spirit . . . We hate to have laws ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre

20 December 2018
Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... of 1660 and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Local leaders such as Samuel Bamford of Middleton and John Knight of Manchester were supported by men of higher social status, such as Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt, a gentleman farmer originally from Wiltshire. Hunt was politically ambitious and a populist in the old sense of the word. He came to national attention when he delivered rousing speeches at the mass ...

Major and Minor

Frank Kermode

6 June 1985
The Oxford Companion to English Literature 
edited by Margaret​ Drabble.
Oxford, 1155 pp., £15, April 1985, 0 19 866130 4
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... The Oxford Companion to – or Bumper Book of – English Literature was first published in 1932 and updated in three subsequent editions and many reprints. It has now been extensively re-edited by Margaret Drabble, aided by an impressive list of experts. The original editor, Sir Paul Harvey, explained that his intention was to be useful to ordinary everyday readers. He offered the dates and brief ...

Puritan Neuroses

Blair Worden

19 April 1984
The Puritan Gentry: The Great Puritan Families of Early Stuart England 
by J.T. Cliffe.
Routledge, 313 pp., £18.95, March 1984, 0 7102 0007 2
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The Puritan Moment: The Coming of Revolution in an English County 
by William Hunt.
Harvard, 365 pp., £30.60, April 1983, 0 674 73903 5
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Godly People: Essays on English Protestantism and Puritanism 
by Patrick Collinson.
Hambledon, 604 pp., £24, July 1982, 9780907628156
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Laud’s Laboratory: The Diocese of Bath and Wells in the Early 17th Century 
by Margaret​ Steig.
Associated University Presses, 416 pp., £30, September 1983, 0 8387 5019 2
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The Puritan Conversion Narrative: The Beginnings of American Expression 
by Patricia Caldwell.
Cambridge, 210 pp., £17.50, December 1983, 0 521 25460 4
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Protestant Reformers in Elizabethan Oxford 
by C.M. Dent.
Oxford, 262 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 826723 1
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... together with the belief in providence and the fear of Catholics, is now guaranteed a central place in any reputable account of the origins of the ‘Puritan Revolution’; and high time too. William Hunt, whose book is ostensibly about pre-Civil War Essex but really about many things besides, calls it The Puritan Moment. The argument nowadays is not about the political importance of religious ...

Transformation

Rosalind Mitchison

21 January 1982
Enemies of God: The Witch-Hunt​ in Scotland 
by Christina Larner.
Chatto, 244 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 0 7011 2424 5
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The Enlightenment in National Context 
edited by Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich.
Cambridge, 276 pp., £19.50, September 1981, 0 521 23757 2
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... 1661-2, and the early outbreak of the 1590s, seem to have been produced by native political pressures. Dr Larner examines critically the various theories that have been put forward as explanation. Dr Margaret Murray’s belief that witchcraft was a pre-Christian fertility religion has already been debunked. It could never have been taken seriously by anyone who looked carefully at the dishonesty of her ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... goes a long way in both remedying and explaining some disparities of treatment. It means that the reader whose thirst for knowledge is not slaked by the entry first consulted can be led on a treasure hunt for further clues. Start with Adam Smith and you find a picture and a few key dates in his career. But see Free Trade. Here not only the meaning of the term but also the influence of the policy is ...

Hooked

Margaret​ Visser: Mega-Fish

16 April 1998
Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World 
by Mark Kurlansky.
Cape, 294 pp., £12.99, March 1998, 0 224 05104 0
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... it now rarely contains cod.) Factory ships have grown to a 4000-ton capacity or more, dragging huge nets and hauling them up every four hours, 24 hours a day. Sonar devices and spotter aircraft hunt down the prey. ‘Rockhoppers’ see to it that rocks present no obstacle to shaving the ocean floor. ‘Tickler chains’ create dust and noise in order to flush out every lurking fish. Such a ship ...

Enthusiasts

Anita Brookner

3 February 1983
Where I Used to Play on the Green 
by Glyn Hughes.
Gollancz, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1982, 0 575 02997 8
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Virginie 
by John Hawkes.
Chatto, 212 pp., £8.50, January 1983, 0 7011 3908 0
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Ancient Enemies 
by Elizabeth North.
Cape, 230 pp., £7.95, November 1982, 0 224 02052 8
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Dancing Girls 
by Margaret​ Atwood.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 224 01835 3
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Master of the Game 
by Sidney Sheldon.
Collins, 495 pp., £8.95, January 1983, 0 00 222614 6
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... melancholy. And his chateau, Dédale, is everyone’s fantasy chateau, complete with horses and whippets, dovecot in the stable court, enclosed formal garden, nearby convent, tapestries of the hunt in the dining-room, whole logs burning in huge fireplaces, and meals of meat, wine, fruit and cake. When Hawkes speaks of the sun on the golden stone of the house or describes the clatter of horses ...

Boswell’s Bowels

Neal Ascherson

20 December 1984
James Boswell: The Later Years 1769-1795 
by Frank Brady.
Heinemann, 609 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 434 08530 8
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... James Boswell than about any other human being who inhabited the earth two hundred years ago. As Boswell’s journals and letters and papers came to light and were published, in that long treasure-hunt which began in 1927 at Malahide in Ireland, so most of the disparaging myths about him progressively fell away. After his death in 1795, it was said that he was so effectively locked out of good ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Lost Prince’

6 December 2012
... not an invasion but merely another instance of those ‘most Happy Unions Contracted betwixt the Princes of the Blood Royall’ of the two kingdoms, shows James at the head and his great grandmother Margaret Tudor at the centre of an illuminated pedigree in which the graceful twining of Tudor roses disguises the somewhat oblique nature of his descent. Inigo Jones’s costume design for Oberon (1610 ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian Hamilton: Watch your mouth!

14 December 2000
Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... paintings, he owned garage-loads of vintage cars, he belonged to Brooks and Pratts and regularly lost large sums at Aspinalls – playing backgammon, not roulette. He was posher, by far, than Margaret Thatcher and most of the cowed arrivistes in her Cabinet. And, to cap it all, he’d written several books (both fiction and non-fiction). He had claims to be thought of as an intellectual. Who else ...

Sweeno’s Beano

Nigel Wheale: MacSweeney, Kinsella and Harrison

1 October 1998
The Book of Demons 
by Barry MacSweeney.
Bloodaxe, 109 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85224 414 3
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Poems 1980-94 
by John Kinsella.
Bloodaxe, 352 pp., £9.95, April 1999, 1 85224 453 4
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The Silo: A Pastoral Symphony 
by John Kinsella.
Arc, 108 pp., £7.95, January 1997, 1 900072 12 2
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The Kangaroo Farm 
by Martin Harrison.
Paper Bark, 79 pp., £8.95, May 1998, 0 9586482 4 7
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... is probably Douglas Oliver’s The Infant and the Pearl (1985), a dream-allegorical confrontation in which malign powers are named with outlandish blazons such as ‘Zandra’, ‘Saatchi’ and ‘Margaret’. In a moving climax, Oliver’s dreamer lying ‘in my grey dressing gown’ discovers the pearl within himself, ‘a pellucid awareness of all that had passed’, and his dream-guide, Rosine ...

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